Not long after the iPad was announced back in January, I wrote a column titled, "Which e-readers will the iPad Crush?" For the article, I came up with a list of several e-reader hopefuls that I thought would be most profoundly affected by the arrival of the iPad. Not surprisingly, all of them were more-expensive e-readers with price tags approaching--or even exceeding--the cost of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad ($499).
The day the iPhone 3GS launched, I wrote a column entitled "364 days and counting to iPhone 4G." Since then, thanks to Google, I've gotten a lot of e-mails from folks wondering just when the fourth-generation iPhone will come out, whether other carriers besides AT&T will offer it, whether it will actually work on 4G networks, and just what features it might have.
Until I hear otherwise, I'm sticking to my guns and saying the iPhone 4G--or whatever Apple chooses to call its next iPhone--will arrive almost a year to the day from when … Read more
Note: If you own an iPhone 4 or 4S for, please go to Top 20 tough cases for iPhone 4 and 4S. This article features iPhone 3GS cases.
How you choose to protect--or not protect--your iPhone is a matter of personal choice. Sure, plenty of people like to leave their iPhone naked, reasoning that any protective cover diminishes its sleekness. But the majority of iPhone owners realize it's probably a good idea to give your precious device some degree of armor, particularly if you don't like the idea of seeing your iPhone's lovely finish dinged and scratched … Read more
I find all of this talk about Apple helping publishers by charging more than Amazon for e-books amusing. Sure, the larger iPad may be more suitable for reading e-books than the iPhone or iPod Touch, but if you follow the e-book market in Apple's App Store, you know that outside a few Bible apps only a handful of the "top paid" apps in the book category cost more than a couple of bucks--and most sell for 99 cents. Moreover, if you look at the top-50 paid apps overall, I count only 16 that cost more than 99 … Read more
Some banks have given away iPods to new customers for opening checking accounts. So what's so far-fetched about Amazon trying to entice its customers into subscribing to its $79-per-year Amazon Prime service with a free Kindle?
Nothing, according to TechCrunch, which says a reliable source said, "Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber." However, the only problem is that Amazon has to figure out how to do it without losing money.
In case you don't know, Amazon's Prime service allows you to get free two-day shipping on any product in … Read more
In recent weeks, the stand-off between Amazon and publishers over e-book pricing has received a lot media attention. At issue is who controls how e-books are priced and what pricing flexibility publishers have when coordinating releases of their hardcover books with their e-book counterparts.
Many say the brouhaha was precipitated by Apple's iPad launch, which included a new e-book store (iBooks) with a pricing structure that appealed to certain publishers. In the wake of the launch, two major publishers, Macmillan and Hachette, have renegotiated deals with Amazon to move to an "agency model" that allows publishers to set prices for their e-books and give Amazon a 30 percent cut from the sale price. Word is that most--but maybe not all--of the "big six" publishers are interested in following suit with similar deals.
As any Kindle owner knows, Amazon has touted how it sells many new releases and all best sellers for $9.99. Under this arrangement, Amazon is willing to take a loss because it buys e-books from publishers for about 50 percent off the list price of the hardcover. For instance, if a hardcover lists for $24.95, Amazon buys the e-book for around $12.50 and sells it for $9.99.
On the surface, that may seem marginally crazy, but Amazon wants to attract people to its Kindle platform by offering the best selection of e-books at the best prices--and forcing competitors like Barnes & Noble and Sony to match those prices.
It's the old squeeze play, and though it may be a smart, cut-throat strategy that appears to have paid off so far, publishers have become gravely concerned that Amazon is gaining too much power in the quickly growing e-book arena.… Read more
Now that the dawn of the iPad is upon us, the inevitable comparisons between Apple's wundertablet and the Kindle--and what it all means for Amazon--have begun in earnest.
For example, in its write-up of the iPad launch, The New York Times said that Apple's new deals with five major publishers basically amounted to a declaration of war. "The announcement puts Apple on a collision course with Amazon," the Times said. And Steve Jobs, while praising Amazon for pioneering the e-book category, told the world that, "we are going to stand on their shoulders and go a little bit farther."
That may very well be true, especially when it comes to stuff like comic books, graphic novels, textbooks, and interactive children's stories, but the war we're looking at isn't the war we're used to seeing in the consumer electronics world, where one piece of gear simply is superior, sexier--and better-priced--than another.
From the get-go, as soon as rumors surfaced about an Apple tablet, many a tech pundit made his or her readers aware that such a device would make for a very strong e-reader. After all, since the iPhone and iPod Touch are already good e-readers, it was pretty easy to assume that an Apple tablet would be that much better because it had a larger screen. And no doubt it will be.… Read more
Back in December, I did roundup of the most notable tech products for 2009. Well, looking back is nostalgic and all, but looking forward is more fun.
Since many companies like to keep future new releases under tight wraps so they don't short-circuit sales of their current products, we can't predict what all the new hot gadgets will be this year. But we did see a fair amount of intriguing stuff at this year's CES in Vegas and we know that plenty of sequels to today's popular products are on the way--whether the company wants you … Read more
Most of the talk recently has been about Apple's looming event on January 27, where it's been widely reported that the company will unveil a tablet PC of some undetermined size. Whether this device is a game-changer along the lines of the original iPod or iPhone remains to be seen, but lost in the shuffle is the possibility that Amazon's breakthrough e-reader, the Kindle, may be on the verge of an upgrade.
To be clear, I don't have any inside information or anonymous sources telling me that Amazon's bought thousands of parts from some Taiwanese manufacturer. But let's speculate for a moment on the possibilities for a new Kindle and what it might look like.
For starters, the Kindle 2 (now called the Kindle, U.S. and international wireless, latest edition), was launched on February 9 of last year. That's relevant because in recent years Amazon has been doing its best to imitate Apple, and Apple tends to be fairly regimented in rolling out updates to its major products. For instance, new iPods tend to be announced in the fall, and new iPhones have been released in June.
You could argue that while Kindle has had upgrades to its wireless service (Amazon added an international option by moving from Sprint to AT&T) over the year--and the Kindle DX was released in May of 2009--the Kindle, now approaching a year old, is due for a bigger refresh in February, especially if Apple's slate proves to be the e-reader on steroids that many are positing it will. (As has been widely discussed, the potential big strike against the Apple tablet could be price. If it ends up being in $750-$1000 range, that's rather expensive for someone looking for a device you plan on primarily using as an e-reader).
In the last couple of days, Amazon has also made a few announcements pointing to the possibility that a new device is coming. In describing the terms of its new higher 70 percent royalty for authors using its Digital Text Platform for publishing content in the Kindle Store, Amazon said that it was planning on adding new features to both the store and the Kindle.
The next day it followed up with an announcement that it was releasing a new software development kit (SDK) so developers could create new apps for the Kindle. In its release, the company referred to the new apps being tested on the simulators for the current 6-inch Kindle and Kindle DX, but it's debatable how suitable the current Kindles are for running apps, particularly when you factor in the lag times of E-ink.
The release also has a quote from an EA Games executive talking about developing games for the Kindle platform.… Read more
Months after Verizon Communications began issuing warnings to accused file sharers, the company has acknowledged that multiple offenses could result in a service interruption.
"We've cut some people off," Verizon Online spokeswoman Bobbi Henson told CNET. "We do reserve the right to discontinue service. But we don't throttle bandwidth like Comcast was doing. Verizon does not have bandwidth caps."
What this means is that Verizon, one of the country's biggest broadband providers, appears to have adopted an approach to illegal file sharing that sounds very similar to one promoted and pushed heavily by … Read more